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Memorial Day 2020

Posted by Bea Davis on May 21, 2020 10:18:43 AM

It may look different, but the celebration is the same.

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Parades. Remembrances. Family Barbecues. Theses are all the hallmarks of a typical Memorial Day celebration. But how we celebrate Memorial Day 2020 with be very different from years past. How will it maintain its special place in American hearts, not only as a day to remember America's heroes, but also as the unofficial start of summer? 

Screen Shot 2020-05-21 at 9.35.00 AM"It is unclear where exactly this tradition originated; numerous different communities may have independently initiated the memorial gatherings. And some records show that one of the earliest Memorial Day commemoration was organized by a group of freed slaves in Charleston, South Carolina less than a month after the Confederacy surrendered in 1865. Nevertheless, in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day." (History.com)

In the beginning , the day (known at that time as Decoration Day) was celebrated every year on May 30th, regardless of the day of the week.  In 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.

And as with any holiday, food (and group celebrations) have always played a large part. Whether it's with typical cookout fare of "burgers and dogs," or more traditional barbecue like ribs or briskets, Americans have used this day to come together. 

If you're going to have a small gathering of people over for a cookout, here's a great discussion about how to do so safely. If you'd rather bring in food from a local restaurant, there are great options available. Our friends at Eater have covered a lot of barbecue over the years. Here's a link to some of their recent coverage of great barbecue around the country that may help you get your fix this weekend.

Whatever you do, and however you celebrate, stay safe, eat well, and raise a glass to the brave men and women of our armed forces. 

Topics: seasonal, Memorial Day, holiday, celebration

ERIC’S 7 STEPS TO DESSERT PERFECTION

Posted by Bea Davis on Mar 25, 2020 10:15:00 AM

Eric Bertoia shares his secrets for a great plate.

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As the corporate pastry chef of Paris Gourmet, Eric Bertoia spends his days creating and tasting plenty of desserts. He loves nothing more than to help other pastry cooks and chefs around the country raise their game, and to create menus that can really wow their customers.

But what does he look for in a great dessert? I got the chance to sit down with Eric and talk about what tingles his tongue, and learn these 7 great tips to creating a perfect plate.

1. Respecting the season

Seasonal produce

Seasonality is one of the most crucial elements of successful dessert creation. Guests definitely look for different flavors at different times of the year. For example, while chocolate desserts may be popular year round, they're definitely in higher demand in the winter. And spring and summer scream for desserts that feature fresh berries. And, of course, seasonality only helps the next element...

2. Quality of ingredients

It's a given that ingredients, especially fresh produce, is going to be of higher quality when it's in season. Featuring fresh strawberries in a dessert in the middle of December only leads to higher costs for lower quality and, ultimately, a disappointed customer. And that's probably the highest cost of all. 

3. Using 3 to 5 different flavors

Incorporating a variety of flavors in your dessert keeps things interesting on your customers palate. But you don't want too many, otherwise it becomes a confusing jumble of flavors where no single element stands out. And remember...sometimes you want flavors that contrast, sometimes you want flavors that compliment.

4. Balancing textures : crispy - soft - creamy - temperature

Similarly, having a multiple different textures at play in your dessert gives another layer of interest. If your dessert is only cold-soft-and-creamy, with no element that brings some crunch or heft, your customer is going to lose interest quickly. Think about the perfect s'more...the gooey warm slightly melty chocolate, a gooey-crisp marshmallow, and a crunchy graham cracker. The whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. 

Delicious chocolate dessert served on a white plate5. Design/ decoration

Everything great plate needs a finishing touch. But make sure it contributes meaningfully to the final product. 

6. Presentation

"We eat with our eyes," the old adage goes. Find new and creative ways to present your dessert - ways that bring delight, surprise, and joy to your guests. At the same time, make sure the presentation is in service of the dish, not the other way around. 

7. Taste

And of course, nothing else matters if the dessert doesn't taste good. Get feedback from your coworkers. Refine, refine, and refine again. Always seek greater clarity of flavor

Follow these 7 steps, and you're well on your way to creating a memorable dessert that will keep your guests coming back for more. 

 

Topics: Techniques, Pastry Trends, seasonal, trends

Spring is...springing!

Posted by Bea Davis on Feb 26, 2020 1:34:28 PM

Spring is right around the corner, which means a menu change can’t be far behind.

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It’s a great time to embrace “local and seasonal”, and we found the perfect website (they also have an app) to help you do just that. It's called The Seasonal Food Guide. Use their handy drop down menus to choose your location and the time of year, and it will tell you what’s being grown near you. There’s even a button to see “what’s coming soon.” Try it now...you might find new inspiration to help you jump-start your spring menu.

Seasonal Food Guide

Topics: fruits, education, seasonal

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